Saturday Open Thread

Good Morning. I hope you’re enjoying this weekend with family and friends.

hat tip-POU:

From The

The Obamas’ First Kiss, Immortalized

President Obama has often told the story of how he met his wife, Michelle, in Chicago when they worked at the same law firm. Now, fans of the first couple can visit the spot where they shared their first kiss.

A historical marker was unveiled on Wednesday at the site, outside a shopping center in Chicago. The plaque features a 2007 quote from Mr. Obama from an interview with O, the Oprah Magazine.

“On our first date, I treated her to the finest ice cream Baskin-Robbins had to offer, our dinner table doubling as the curb. I kissed her, and it tasted like chocolate,” the plaque reads.

The granite marker is at the corner of Dorchester Avenue and 53rd Street outside a shopping center in the Hyde Park neighborhood, not far from the Obamas’ home. The plaque also features a photo of the couple kissing.

Although the Baskin-Robbins shop has been replaced by a Subway restaurant, there is a different Baskin-Robbins nearby, according to The Chicago Tribune.

The owners of the shopping center said they had been working to create a marker for several years because of interest from the public.

“We took on the project for the community, posterity and the tourists who seem interested in including the spot in their visit to Chicago,” said Jonelle Kearney, a spokeswoman for Mid-America Real Estate.

Whether it is a savvy marketing tool or an adorable tribute, Obama’s team probably welcomes attention to the couple’s love story as the presidential campaign has grown increasingly negative. In an interview on “The Tonight Show” this week, Mrs. Obama spoke of another kiss, explaining that she was not rebuffing the president when the couple was caught on the “kiss cam” at a recent basketball game.

CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 16: A plaque placed outside a strip mall in the Hyde Park neighborhood marks the location where President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama shared their first kiss on August 16, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The kiss took place in 1989 on the corner of Dorchester and 53rd Streets when the president treated the first lady to ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins in the mall, which is now a Subway restaurant. The Obamas will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary in October.
—-Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

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22 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    This video rocks…this dude is 92!!

    World War II Veteran Ralph Maxwell says 4 More Years!

  2. rikyrah says:

    Roger Stone Turns on GOP

    by BooMan
    Sat Aug 18th, 2012 at 05:26:12 PM EST

    Roger Stone has been ratfu*king Democrats for 40 years. This is the first time I’ve seen him try to ratfu*k a Republican.

    I’ve waited a few days to lay out my analysis of the selection of Paul Ryan for the VP slot on the
    Romney ticket. Unlike politicos like Dick Morris who bad-mouths the selection privately and shills for it publicly, I’ll tell you what I really think. My sources tell me David Koch played a key role in Ryan’s selection and that Koch’s wife Julia had been quietly lobbying for Ryan. The selection was cemented at the July 22nd fundraiser Koch held for Romney at the former’s sumptuous Hamptons estate.
    Koch pledged $100 million more to C-4 and Super PAC efforts for Romney for Ryan’s selection.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Hank Williams, Jr: Obama Is A Muslim Who Hates America
    Evan McMorris-Santoro – 2:25 PM EDT, Saturday August 18, 2012

    Country music singer and incendiary conservative Hank Williams, Jr. is once again saying controversial things about President Obama. Des Moines Register reporter Joe Lawler writes Williams told a crowd at the Iowa State Fair Friday that the president isn’t a Christian and that he “hates” America.

    “We’ve got a Muslim president who hates farming, hates the military, hates the US and we hate him!” Williams yelled to the crowd.

    The line was met with “loud and enthusiastic” cheers, Lawler writes.

    Williams was booted from his slot on Monday Night Football last year after he compared Obama to Hitler on a Fox News Interview. Shortly thereafter he released a song accusing Obama of trying to create the “United Socialist States of America.”

  4. rikyrah says:

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

    I COULD NOT REGISTER TO VOTE! – The Voter Identification MANDATE

    I have never bought into the whole voter ID scam because I know history and bullshit. Doesn’t it strike anyone as hypocritical that the small government advocates, who hate mandates have mandated that everyone has to have a government ID? In light of the fact that voter fraud is virtually non-existent, there’s no reason to believe that the same identification process that has always worked will continue to serve us well. Still, there’s nothing like personal experience to give validity to one’s argument.

    Let me give you my personal encounter with the voter identification process:

    Some months ago, I moved to Kansas. As is required, I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to exchange my driver’s license for a Kansas license, to make record of my new address and to register to vote. In order to make certain I would cover every possibility, I simply grabbed what I call “my identity packet” which contains the following:

  5. rikyrah says:

    August 18, 2012

    The last hurrah’s ‘bruising offensive’

    Once again Politico notes the almost unnoteworthy:

    Republican strategists believe that there is really only one way to win the Medicare message wars: mount a bruising offense and attack Democrats for their own actions surrounding the popular federal health care program for senior citizens.

    From assailing FDR’s rescue of capitalism as an unconscionable act of socialism and converting Truman’s “loss” of China into domestic disloyalty to redeploying the FDR offensive on Johnson’s Great Society and attacking Democratic deficit hawks as anti-growth Reagan-haters and then on to Swift-boating the military-serving John Kerry and degrading the authentic exceptionalism of Obama’s Americanism, the modern GOP has habitually believed there is really only one way to win any message war: a bruising offense.

    Its ancestral habit of a bruising offense? The Bloody Shirt–which, ironically, through increasingly generous military pension payments, became the established forerunner of America’s welfare state.

  6. rikyrah says:

    August 18, 2012


    Paul Ryan is now speaking demagoguing at The Villages, Florida, and the idiot villagers just cheered his “observation” that President Obama has “run out of ideas.”

    You’ve got to admire, in a perverse sort of way, his chutzpah. Ryan has led the charge against Obama’s variously proposed legislation–including a fresh jobs bill that would employ up to 2 million more Americans–yet Obama’s the depleted problem, says Ryan.

    This is Ryan’s economy. It’s the House Republicans’ economy. This is what austerity looks like. And while the Village people are booing it, they’re cheering for more of it.

  7. rikyrah says:

    One-Legged Stool Campaign

    by BooMan
    Sat Aug 18th, 2012 at 09:36:00 AM EST

    The magnitude of the basic deceit that is the Romney/Ryan campaign has grown so large that it presents a problem for the blogging format. Time and again, I am dissuaded from pursuing a topic by the sheer effort it will take to explain it, or by the fact that I have already expended that energy more than once. It must be part of their plan. Here’s Greg Sargent, giving it a go:

    Romney has broken with recent precedent — his father included — in refusing to release his tax returns, but he says has paid 13 percent for 10 years. (Just trust me.) Romney has not released the names of his major bundlers, but he won’t be beholden to his donors, as Obama has been. (Just trust me.) Romney vows to eliminate the deficit, and promises that his tax plan will be revenue neutral, even though he won’t say which loopholes and deductions he’d eliminate to pay for deep tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the rich. (Just trust me.) Romney says he intends to eliminate whole agencies of government, but won’t say which ones, except in closed-door meetings with donors, and even then, details are scarce. (All together now: Just trust me.)

    And so on, in that vein. Rather than doing a piece this morning that attempts to correct the record, I just want to talk about this strategy of “Just trust me.” On one level, I agree with the strategy. When it comes to something like tax reform, for example, it makes sense to set out some broad principles and leave most of the details for later. This is because you have to work with the Congress you get, not the one you might wish to have. So, details don’t count for much. What the voters need to know is your bottom line and what you are trying to achieve.

    But, if you are going to propose a radical change in the tax code, and ask people to trust you about the details, you have to work to earn that trust. And Romney doesn’t come with a lot of built up trust. It’s not a problem for me, but his Mormon religion is something a lot of people don’t trust. His work at Bain Capital is not something a lot of people trust. His destruction of his gubernatorial records didn’t promote trust. The destruction of his Olympic records didn’t promote trust. His refusal to release his tax returns is suspicious, as is his foreign banks accounts. Lying about whether he filed his taxes in Utah or Massachusetts didn’t inspire any trust. And, frankly, that fact that he says about twenty inaccurate things a day is not helping people trust him.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Dark Road to the White House


    Shady money, voter suppression, shifting positions, murky details and widespread apathy.If there is a road map for a Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan win in November, that’s it. Distasteful all.

    As The New York Times reported this week, Paul Ryan made the trip on Tuesday to kiss the ring of Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino owner who has pledged to spend as much as $100 million to defeat President Obama. No reporters were allowed in, of course.


    America, this is the Republican ticket. Although most smart political observers currently have Romney losing the Electoral College, Romney, following this repulsive road map, is virtually tied with Obama in national polls of likely voters.

    That is, in part, because of apathy. As USA Today reported, the 90 million people who are unlikely to vote in November prefer Obama over Romney by 2 to 1, and “they could turn a too-close-to-call race into a landslide for President Obama — but by definition they probably won’t.”

    If this underhanded dirty dealing by the Republican ticket doesn’t jolt some of these unlikely voters into likely ones, I don’t know what will.

  9. rikyrah says:

    The Grand Unified Theory of Romney Taxation

    By mistermix August 18th, 2012

    I have to marvel at the cleverness of the latest effort from MS Bellows at the Guardian, who has related the Romney voter fraud issue (he voted in Massachusetts in 2010 even though he apparently didn’t live there) with Romney’s reluctance to release his taxes:

    Many (many, many, many, many, many) theories have been advanced to explain why Romney keeps refusing to produce any returns prior to 2010, ranging from “voters might learn he’s wealthy” (which voters already know) to “he underpaid his church tithe” (doubtful).

    None of them is really satisfactory, because none of them posits Romney concealing any facts more harmful than the blowback he is getting for not producing more returns. The problem may be that all of the prominent theories (with a couple of under-noticed exceptions) assume Romney is trying to conceal facts about his finances. Like the purloined letter pinned prominently in plain sight, what Romney’s really hiding might be something more mundane: the home address written on the top of the tax form. That address that might reveal a connection between the “tax returns” brouhaha and the “voter fraud” fizzle – which may be the strongest explanation of

  10. rikyrah says:

    What Romney considers ‘suicidal’
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:09 PM EDT.

    In theory, Mitt Romney has already taken all kinds of steps that seem incredibly risky. He’s endorsed a plan to end Medicare; his tax plan appears to raise taxes on all of the middle class; and he’s eager to take affordable health care away from millions of working families.

    But Team Romney doesn’t consider any of this politically “suicidal.” What are they truly afraid of? Policy specifics.


    We’ve heard quite a bit from Romney and his surrogates lately about how eager they are to have a substantive, policy-focused debate. And while that sounds delightful, they neglected to mention the asterisk — the substantive, policy-focused debate has to steer clear of any and all details.

  11. rikyrah says:

    August 18, 2012 8:39 AM
    Obama And His Judges (Or Lack Thereof)

    By Ben Jacobs

    The New York Times has a front page article this morning about the Obama Administration’s failure to fill judicial vacancies, especially in comparison to previous administrations. This has long been a subject of griping among many on the left as seeming negligence or oversight on the part of the White House. It’s revealed today to be the result of an intentional strategy.

    But a good portion of Mr. Obama’s judicial record stems from a deliberate strategy. While Mr. Bush quickly nominated a slate of appeals court judges early in his first year — including several outspoken conservatives — Mr. Obama moved more slowly and sought relatively moderate jurists who he hoped would not provoke culture wars that distracted attention from his ambitious legislative agenda.

    The White House in that first year did not want to nominate candidates who would generate rancorous disputes over social issues that would further polarize the Senate,” said Gregory B. Craig, Mr. Obama’s first White House counsel. “We were looking for mainstream, noncontroversial candidates to nominate.”

  12. rikyrah says:

    Define ‘worse’
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:47 PM EDT.

    For over a year, Mitt Romney argued on a nearly daily basis that President Obama inherited a brutal recession but then “made it worse.” By March, even the Republican candidate gave up trying to say this with a straight face, and switched to a new line — the economy improved under Obama, but the president shouldn’t get credit.

    Yesterday, however, Romney’s running mate picked up the old talking point as his own. “Now, let’s be candid, President Obama clearly inherited a very difficult situation,” Paul Ryan told supporters in North Canton, Ohio. “There are no two ways about that. Problem is, he made things much worse.”

    Indeed, defending himself for being for and against Recovery Act investments at the same time, Ryan added the stimulus “didn’t work” and “did nothing to stimulate the economy.”

    It’s tempting to just send Ryan a copy of Michael Grunwald’s new book, “The New New Deal,” which is arguably the best book on the Obama presidency to date, but since I doubt he’d read it, let’s instead review some charts

  13. rikyrah says:

    He’s no ‘doormat’
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:57 PM EDT.

    Most of Paul Ryan’s new stump speech is rather boilerplate, but there was a line in his speech yesterday in North Canton, Ohio, that caused a bit of a stir.

    “Free trade is a powerful tool for peace and prosperity, but our trading partners need to play by the rules. And this challenge focuses on China. They steal our intellectual property rights. They block access to their markets. They manipulate their currency. President Obama promised he would stop these practices. He said he’d go to the mat with China. Instead, they’re treating him like a doormat.”

    The crowd certainly seemed to like this, but does it make any sense?

    As a rule, when Paul Ryan pretends to know something about foreign policy, national security, international affairs, diplomacy, or the military, it’s probably wise to remember that he, like his inexperienced running mate, is working from a position of ignorance.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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